Hi Chaps, sorry I haven’t provided a more detailed report before, but at last I have a few spare minutes.
Like Andy and others, chose not to say too much on the open forum.
As far as IRIS is concerned, looks like we are some way off a fully functioning system, although the problems have been immense.
Some owners discussed the possibility of releasing the various bits of IRIS in phases and most wanted Bluetooth first. This was merely discussed and by no means a certainty at this stage
Bluetooth is operational in test cars at the moment and I get the impression that whilst most of us would be happy with where they are now, McLaren aren’t and don’t just want to be as good as everyone else's system, but superior.
Sat nav – seems McLaren don’t just want to replicate what is out there already, but go some way beyond, hence the delays to date and possibly trying to achieve the impossible – a system that doesn’t give erroneous directions!
One of the problems with all sat nav systems apparently, is reflected signals, particularly from tall buildings. The signal comes from opposite direction to where it should do, totally baffling the unit.
McLaren are trying to adopt some type of dead reckoning system, so that even when the satellite signal is lost or erroneous, it still knows where it is going.
The problem with the radio reception is that there isn’t actually a radio receiver, just a clever computer. This is picking all sorts of electrical interference from all of the other systems. One possible solution is to actually fit a dedicated tuner/receiver and this would be retro fitted to all cars.
Asked if DAB would be offered and this was given a definite no.
Software changes are afoot for the Meridian sound system that will hopefully answer the criticisms, although some people find it just perfect, it appears that it is all down to taste/type of music and own personal listening preferences.
I think I am with the majority, however, who are far from satisfied.
Even Antony Sheriff was bemused that no sound could be heard until 52 or so. Apparently this is a Meridian quirk, as each number represents some sort of increase, but not the obvious one - of volume and sound!
It is hoped that there will be much more adjustment to the sound, just like on an Ipod, with concert, rock, pop, etc., defaults, plus the “pure” Meridian sound which is enjoyed by about 10% of owners.
Hopefully this will also address the compression, file type issues that have been mentioned elsewhere and I noted that even with very high bit rate samples, I didn’t think the sound was that mind blowing.
Sadly, though, these changes are still months away.
Not an actual technical issue, but I mentioned the sun visors and for a short *rse like me, find them totally useless, particularly with the low sun at the moment.
Turns out that if they had been any bigger (by 1mm actually), the car would have failed the US safety tests. The test in question is for people sat in the seat without a seatbelt (yep, in the US you even have to account for this) and where their head would hit in the event of an accident.
If anything, this shows the complexities of designing a car for a world market and all of the resultant constraints and compromises that befall the final product.
As far as past issues are concerned, these were initially reported and discussed on a daily basis and up to seven days a week and all were actioned and immediate attempts were made to rectify them.
The door opening problems and dead battery issue was one that the very early owners experienced on a very intermittent and ad hoc basis.
Believe it or not, there are 168 different ways to get into the car, by which I assume that this means different occurrence, like, boot open and left door entry, window down and right door entry and so on. I would struggle to find a couple of dozen, but McLaren found 168.
They then went repeatedly through every option again and again, trying to find a situation where there was an unexpected load/drain on the battery.
An issue was identified and sorted, although just lately it has been discovered that it could all be down to defective batteries from their supplier.
I am going on a bit now, but something else which shows how damn near impossible it is to get things right from the outset and this concerns the key fob.
When you push down on it, it deflects an input on a circuit board. This deflection, measured in Newton Metres (or fractions of) I recall, was tested at great length and withstood all tests.
In the field, however, if you didn’t push the button dead centre, you got a leverage effect and the part was subjected to many times the anticipated load. This is turn led to a tiny hairline crack in the circuit board giving occasional intermittent signals and leading to the reported key fob problems.
The circuit board and fob have been slightly redesigned to avoid this issue in the future.
I have probably not explained this too well, but when I was told, you could see just how unlikely it would be to pick this up pre-production.
On a closing note, Antony Sheriff noted, without prompting, that he personally reads McLaren Life two or three times a week. So there you have it, this message board is even viewed by the number one man himself.
To get the opportunity to sit with Antony Sheriff over lunch (or any other time) is something not to be missed and I certainly felt privileged to have the opportunity to do so.
His knowledge about the car, the testing, the faults and every aspect about the company and its after sales, is second to none and encyclopaedic. His anecdotes, which I will not publish, were priceless.
Sorry that this has turned out such a lengthy post, but the more I recalled from last week, the more I have tried to pass on.